(Appleton, WI) - The Lake County Captains (19-14) took their Copa de la Diversión identity, the Picantes de Lake County, on the road for the first time this year and suffered a hard-fought loss at the hands of the Cascabeles de Wisconsin, a.k.a. the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (14-18). Despite a two-out rally in the top of the ninth, the Picantes saw their five-game winning streak come to an end with a 5-4 loss at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
Click here for more information on the Picantes and Minor League Baseball's Copa de la Diversión program.
Wisconsin grabbed the game's first run in the second inning. Cascabeles left fielder Chad McClanahan led off with a single off of Picantes starter Juan Mota and Connor McVey followed with another single. Two batters later, Je'von Ward doubled to bring McClanahan home and give the Cascabeles a 1-0 lead.
The Picantes countered with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to take the lead. Miguel Jerez led off the fifth with his second double of the game and later came home to score the game-tying run on a passed ball. The following inning, Tyler Freeman hit his second double with one out to key another rally. Will Benson then legged out an infield single on a slow-rolling ground ball to second baseman Brice Turang, who was shifted into shallow right field. With men on the corners and one out, Mitch Reeves roped a single to right that plated Freeman with the go-ahead run, giving the Picantes a 2-1 lead.
The Cascabeles did not take long to answer. In the bottom of the sixth, Mota hit Yeison Coca with a pitch with one out and David Fry doubled to left-center, putting two men in scoring position. McClanahan followed with a single to right and Coca came home to even the score at 2-2.
After McClanahan's single, Thomas Ponticelli came in from the Picantes' bullpen and retired McVey on a fly out to shallow right for out number two. However, with two outs and men on the corners, McClanahan took off for second base. When Bo Naylor fired to second, McClanahan stopped in his tracks to start a rundown. As the Picantes chased McClanahan between first and second, Fry scored from third with the go-ahead run. He touched home before Lake County tagged McClanahan for the final out of the inning and the Cascabeles took a 3-2 lead.
Wisconsin added a pair of runs in the eighth. The Cascabeles loaded the bases with nobody out on two walks and a single before the Picantes brought in Manuel Alvarez to relieve Ponticelli. McClanahan then grounded to second to bring home Turang from third and Jesus Lujano scored on a wild pitch to extend the Cascabeles' lead to 5-2.
Lake County did not go quietly in the ninth, even after right-hander Chad Whitmer retired the first two Picantes in the inning. With two outs and nobody aboard, Naylor hit a high fly ball over the left field wall for his first home run of the year. The long ball cut the Picantes' deficit to 5-3, but the inning was far from over.
Jerez came up next and hit a sharp grounder to third that went under Coca's glove and down the left field line for a two-base error. Jesse Berardi then battled through a seven-pitch at-bat before lacing an RBI single to right that trimmed Wisconsin's lead to one run. Quentin Holmes as the next hitter and the Picantes' centerfielder hit a grounder deep in the shortstop hole. Antonio Pinero made a sliding stop on the backhand and hurried his throw to second base, but his heave pulled Turang off the bag. Connor Smith then hit a slow chopper to shortstop and the ball bounced off Pinero's charging glove for an error to load the bases with two outs. The Picantes had the tying run 90 feet from home and the go-ahead run on second, but Whitmer got Ruben Cardenas to pop out to McVey at first base to end the ballgame.
Cascabeles starter Aaron Ashby earned the victory. The lefty held Lake County to two runs, one earned, over six innings. Ashby (2-1) gave up six hits, struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Whitmer escaped with his second save. He was charged with two runs, one earned, over one inning of work. The right-hander struck out one, walked none and surrendered three hits.
Mota (1-5) took the loss. The right-hander worked 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. He struck out five and did not issue a walk.
The Captains are back in action on Saturday for the finale of their six-day Wisconsin road trip and the rubber game of their three-game series with the Timber Rattlers. First pitch at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.